Art Exhibit Features Works of SHS Teacher Don Standing
Sunday, September 8, 2013 • 8:36pm
SUMMIT, NJ - Summit High School (SHS) teacher Don Standing will display his drawings, photographs and paintings at Artspace@MONDO from September 9 through October 27. The exhibit, entitled Full Circle, will feature Standing's works, with more than 15 featured pieces.
Standing, who has taught photography and computer graphics at SHS since 2005, credits an eclectic mix of his artistic parents and siblings, music, and a mentor as inspirations for his creative journey. "Art, photography, music and my wife have been a big part of my life for 31 years. When I was fifteen, I was introduced to Punk Rock, Jackson Pollock, my wife and the best teacher I ever had. I was fortunate enough to enroll in a Photo 1 class in high school where I met Ken Ross who was my teacher, mentor and is still a very dear friend to this day. I knew right away that I wanted all of these things in my life."
Standing has been working in photography for 25 years. After receiving his degree in Photography from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, he worked as a photo editor before becoming a freelance photojournalist. His photographs have appeared in several national news magazines and newspapers, such as Newsweek and the New York Times. While raising a family, he decided to combine his love of photography with his love of children and earn his teaching certification. It was during this time that he discovered a passion for painting and drawing.
"Since my father could draw, my mom could paint, and my brothers could sing, I felt I had to find some way to express myself. I never thought of myself as an artist. I had a hard time drawing and no one wanted to hear me sing. As a teenager, I remember looking at pictures of artists who resembled my punk rock icons. I admired them, wanted to be like them, and photography was what I thought could make it possible. Since then, photography has allowed me to look at the world in a totally different way and to take moments in time that I thought were important and interesting. I have always tried to find ordinary scenes and create my own visual language with them as a means of self-expression."
Standing's path to becoming a teacher built a creative bridge to drawing and painting. "When I went back to school to be certified to teach, I had to take several drawing and painting classes. The processes that I learned at that time just clicked. I studied painting and art in much the same way that I did with photography as an undergraduate at NYU. Drawing became an enjoyable endeavor, one on which I spent many of my free hours. My darkroom quickly transformed into a studio where I was drawing and painting on a daily basis."
In addition to his teaching, Standing devotes time to the local Teen Arts Festival every year and teaches photography to elementary-aged children each summer through the FLASH Program. At SHS, he is responsible for creating Human Rights Day, is the faculty sponsor of the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Awareness Club, and announces the varsity football games. His outside interests include running and coaching youth basketball in Summit.
The title of the exhibit, Full Circle, comes from his frequent use of one of the most universal shapes in the world, and the return to his hometown of Summit, to live, teach and raise his family, which includes his wife and two children. Artspace@Mondo is located at 426 Springfield Avenue. An artist reception will be held on Friday, September 20 from 6:00 – 8:00 pm and is open to the public.